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  • Cascadeur's team animation work 2

    Let’s continue training our eyes for details.

    Making an animation realistic implies not only making it physically-correct but making it true to the character we are animating.

    Here is our very artful and deft fighter, who is so skilled that he uses a unique weapon. We wanted his movements to look slick and masterful. How would you improve this animation knowing all that?

    We’ll be waiting for your comments below, as always.

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  • #2
    I feel like this little jump feels too light, not enough inertia/anticipation, and the momentum of the nunchucks seems to come out of nowhere IMO.
    If he was holding the nunchuck with his left hand and then released it to swing really fast from the tension, you could anticipate this movement a bit more with an extra keyframe of him pulling the nunchucks to create said tension

    Edit: or if it was a regular swing it probably should have been wider (in the arms) to allow for such a wide arc of movement
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    Last edited by aalantsev; 07 May 2020, 13:15.

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    • #3
      Would love to see an actual video of that sequence, to study it better as the gif is a bit jumpy.

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      • #4
        As mentioned above, the 3-rd attack seems weak due to a very small momentum. Such an attack gives an opponent a chance to disarm and still the weapon.

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        • #5
          The body pose and foot work looks wrong, but hard to see exactly where it's going wrong. The energy of the strikes aren't effective, they look like they are doing a learning grade kata. Doesn't look like a master, more of a student.

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          • #6
            A little bit hard to tell in stepped mode like this, because we can't check a very important thing in this case (actually, everywhere in animation): arcs. To check the arcs of his arms and weapon, specially. Also his feet, knees. A martial arts master in movement like this should feel very "flowing", fluid, and at the same time with changes in rythm in key moments to surprise the enemy, take him with his guard open, quick counter-attacks etc.
            Also his footwork (stepping ahead in this case) and the movement of his torso and head in the beginning could be a bit better, with more energy and changes in leaning forward/backwards (the spine), to deliver the energy coming from his support foot.
            And at the end, maybe, the chaku also not touching the ground, also with the idea of keep flowing evem after he delivered, to avoid unnecessary impacts that will disturb its trajectory and speed.

            Just guesses. But the animation is very cool.

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            • #7
              It's awesome to get so many detailed reviews despite the gif being so brief! Thanks for the replies, everyone! It looks like our opinions matched

              We thought that in our first animation the hero looked a bit clumsy.

              The beginning of his attack was ok, but when he was making his last strike the body was leaning forward too much because of the inertia. That made his strike almost unnoticeable - you couldn’t see the hand movement and the weapon as much.

              In addition, his weapon was touching the ground after the blow and he had to make another move to bring it back and get to the idle pose. That was ruining the flow.

              So we decided to change the whole nature of this last movement. Now the hero holds back his body to transfer all its energy to the hand, making the weapon and the strike itself more powerful. He then swings the weapon above his head, which results in a smooth transition to the idle pose.

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              • #8
                We also use mocap for some of our game animations and then adjust and polish it with Cascadeur.

                The example below is a draft stance of a character at the beginning of a fight. We wanted to make something that shows her nobleness, strength, and spirituality all at the same time. That’s why from the first draft the team decided to show her “calling for the light” before the battle.

                Apart from obvious issues, some poses and gestures also needed tweaking in our opinion. What would you adjust here?

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                • #9
                  The animation is good!
                  Two cents:

                  - A subtle anticipation in her head before starts getting up.
                  - Also her head look up to target direction or close to it slightly before her arm raises.
                  - Maybe one or two steps-in-place (forgot the word in english for this) when she goes from kneeling to standing up. Like fixing her weights, fulcrum. Specially with armor and swords momentum needing to be eased out.
                  - Her gripping at the end (close to end of movement, right hand) doesn't look that pro for a fighter, because at this moment, her right hand movement looks a little hesitating, like almost missing the grip and then correcting. Maybe this hand is already gripping when she rotates the sword, or arrives more decided/spot on.

                  One question, not related to this animation (as I came here now actually to post this):
                  How would be the workflow Blender -> Cascadeur -> Blender? Smooth? Any issue with joints/bones local axes rotation order...? Or Blender -> Cascadeur -> (fbx) -> UE4?

                  I'm learning blender and I'm almost sure to make my humans and horses, creatures rigging in Blender. I already learned the basics and made a simple biped rig, tested with animation. It's nice.

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                  • #10
                    I'll create the thread with the question, actually. To avoid messing the thread here off-topic.

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                    • #11
                      Thanks for your feedback So this animation was full of little things to adjust.

                      After cleaning up the major problems (such as the sword going through the character’s leg) we concentrated on the start of the movement. It didn’t make much sense to slide her hand down from the top of the sword, so we made her grip the handle in the middle instead.

                      Likewise, we fixed the way she grips the sword when entering into the fighting stance. Now it looks like her natural, habitual gesture and the grip itself is more suitable for the battle.

                      We also steadied her left hand when she gets up. This way the sword doesn’t shake and looks heavier, while the movement itself looks more stable and confident.

                      We also brought the tip of her sword to the surface in the beginning, so that it doesn’t look like she’s digging the ground with it when she begins to move.

                      The other thing we adjusted was the way her palm faced the sky - we turned it a bit to make the gesture more natural and to show her fingers. The palm was made softer, instead of a straight line, to show that she’s receiving light from above.

                      Finally, you may notice that her knee pad is slightly below the ground when she’s kneeling. However, we ran an in-game test of this animation and it was fine there, so we didn’t spend more time on correcting this.

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                      • #12
                        Here is a model of our Fireguard - a fighter who breathes fire before the battle to intimidate his opponent.

                        This is a scene from the blocking stage of production (no interpolation yet) - we were looking for the right poses to express his fiery rage . The moment he opens his chest and looks up is the moment he breathes fire into the sky. After that he gets into a fighting stance, ready to attack.

                        What would be your suggestions here?

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                        • #13
                          So, here is what we changed in this animation, as we were working on it.

                          First were the trajectories of the arms, as the fireguard was raising them above his head. Now they are smoother and rounder. And when he lowers them down again, his hands move a bit further and his weapon turns outwards with the hands to amplify the movement. At the same time, his hands are now less parallel and less synchronized when he lowers them.

                          We’ve also added some minor movements while he is breathing fire, to make him look more alive. And the way he gets out of the fire-breathing pose is more fluent too. We thought that his body moved forward way too much, when he was transitioning to the idle pose - it was unnecessary. So we changed that and also changed the way his right hand moves - to avoid making it look like an attack.

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                          • #14
                            So far we’ve shown many of our fighting animations, but today we are sharing an animation of a defense.


                            The fighter below is receiving a hit of the average strength to his legs and needs to block it. The animation shows basic poses from the blocking stage, without interpolation.


                            How would you proceed from here?

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                            • #15
                              The first thing we wanted to change was the way his legs moved - we weren’t happy with the “frog-like” pose, so we made sure to keep his right knee turned inside.

                              The second cause for concern was the way his back and right arm jumped together with hips after he received the hit. We made their trajectories smoother and lower.

                              Also, in the previous animation, the fighter's back was pressed to the left during the block, which was good, but it didn’t turn back when he stopped. So we made his back return to the right of his pelvis.

                              And last but not least, there was a problem with the pose where his leg extended back. The character did not slow himself down - there wasn’t enough inertia. Even though the hit he receives is of the average strength, he needs a pose where he cancels the inertia of the blow.

                              So here is the final result.

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                              About us
                              Cascadeur is a standalone software for creating physically correct keyframe animations for characters, humanoid and otherwise. Make realistic animations from scratch or improve your mocap, while retaining full control over the results.
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